Friday, November 4, 2011 'By rights, it should be called the 'Bridgetower' Sonata, since Beethoven wrote it for...George Bridgetower'

[George Bridgetower]

Carnegie Hall announces a concert by pianist Leonidas Kavakos and violinist Enrico Pace:

Performance Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011 | 7:30 PM
Leonidas Kavakos
Enrico Pace
Zankel Hall


SERGEI PROKOFIEV Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80

LERA AUERBACH Selections from Twenty-Four Preludes for Violin and Piano, Op. 46

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, "Kreutzer"
“The bracingly virtuosic 'Kreutzer' is the last of nine sonatas for violin and piano that Beethoven composed between 1797 and 1803. (Another nine years would elapse before he wrote his 10th and final violin sonata.) By rights, it should be called the 'Bridgetower' Sonata, since Beethoven wrote it for celebrated English violinist George Bridgetower. After the two men had a falling out, the composer switched the dedication to French virtuoso Rodolphe Kreutzer, who—ironically—never played it in public.”

Program Notes by Harry Haskell (Excerpt)

“About the Composer
Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano date from the years 1797–1812, when he emerged from the shadow of Haydn and Mozart and forged the 'heroic' style of his so-called middle period. As a barn-storming pianist, he first captured the imagination of Viennese audiences; keyboard virtuoso Wenzel Tomaschek was so bowled over by his playing that he couldn’t touch his own instrument for days. Yet Beethoven’s rapid maturation as a composer in the 1790s was no less impressive. By his 30th year, he had a clutch of masterpieces, including three piano concertos, six string quartets, and one symphony. Over the next dozen years (his increasing deafness notwithstanding), a flood of ambitious and formally innovative works flowed from his pen: the opera Fidelio, the 'Eroica' Symphony, a violin concerto, the three 'Razumovsky' quartets, the 'Waldstein' and 'Appassionata' piano sonatas, and the 'Kreutzer' Sonata.

“About the Work
In his first eight violin sonatas, Beethoven gradually moved away from 18th-century sonata style, in which the violin was subordinate to the piano. With the ninth 'Kreutzer' Sonata, there is no longer any question that the two players are equal partners. In this case, the performers were Beethoven himself and the English mulatto violinist George Bridgetower, who met the composer in Vienna in the spring of 1803. Beethoven had already sketched the first two movements of the sonata, and when a concert with Bridgetower was arranged for late May, he hastily combined them with a finale he had written for another sonata in the same key. Both the work’s popular success and the exuberance of its violin writing owed much to Bridgetower’s virtuosity, as Beethoven freely acknowledged. Unfortunately, the two men later quarreled, prompting Beethoven to award the dedication and naming rights of the sonata to the French virtuoso Rodolphe Kreutzer.” [George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860) is featured at on a page researched and written by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

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